The 2017 Sloss Music and Arts Festival is upon us, and DSmithScenes will be front and center to photograph as many of the bands at the festival as possible. The festivities kick off on Saturday, July 15th and carry on into Sunday, July 16th. The location, of course, is historic Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham, Alabama. Things have been a bit slow at DSmithScenes since my work on the Atlanta leg of the Warped Tour wrapped up, but that was by design. I needed a bit of time to rest and recharge before tackling the two-day Sloss Fest event. This will be, by far, my biggest and most intensive concert photography shoot I do for the year 2017. There are about 35 bands that I'm going to try and photograph over the span of two days. As a result, I wanted to do a little preview of what to expect at this year's festival in regards to who is performing, especially some of my personal favorites that are on the schedule.
The Saturday night headliner is Widespread Panic, and, while they will draw a huge crowd to the festival, the band I'm thoroughly looking forward to photograph is the Sunday night headliner, Alabama Shakes. Anyone who knows me knows my history in photographing the band, and how that opened some incredible doors for me. The last time I photographed the band was in 2013 at, you guessed it, Sloss Furnaces. Seeing them perform in a festival setting will be fantastic considering I've seen them perform in settings such as a cramped little bar and even a riverboat, both in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Alabama Shakes play the Blast Stage Sunday night at 10:00 P.M.
Going back to Saturday's lineup, the act I'm really looking forward to seeing that night is Run The Jewels. I had the pleasure of photographing them at The Tabernacle in Atlanta back in January, and they put on an amazing show. The festival atmosphere will only amplify the energy that Killer Mike and El-P put out while they are performing. This is a can't miss performance. Run The Jewels perform Saturday evening on the Blast Stage at 7:45.
Going back to Sunday night and right before Alabama Shakes play, hip-hop artist Vince Staples will perform on the Shed Stage starting at 9:45 P.M. It's going to be a squeeze to try and photograph this set while then getting ready to the set by Alabama Shakes, however, I'm going to try and manage since Vince Staples is a dynamic performer. The aesthetics of the Shed Stage will add greatly to what is already a captivating production set-up for Staples. I caught him at Saturn Birmingham back in April and was thoroughly impressed with what I witnessed.
A couple of bands playing back to back on the same stage on Sunday are definitely worth your attention as well. Birmingham's own Nerves Baddington, a fun and exciting hip-hop group, will perform as the first band on the Steam stage at 1:30. They have just released a new album, and it'll be great to see a local act on the one of the big stages at the festival. Following them on the same stage is the band Lawrence, who begins at 3:00 P.M. They have performed at Saturn Birmingham a number of times now, and this young group always puts on a charismatic set that should translate well to a festival audience. The two acts should be a nice compliment for those who come to the festival early on Sunday.
That's just a few of the numerous acts performing at Sloss Fest this weekend. You also, of course, have the set by Widespread Panic on Saturday along with performances by Cherub, Odesza, Tycho, and many others. On Sunday, some of the bigger names include Sturgill Simpson, Cashmere Cat, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Night Sweats, and Phantogram. If you want a taste of local music, Seasick Records is sponsoring a stage that will be filled with Birmingham based talent. There's going to be something for everyone at this year's Sloss Fest.
More information about the festival, including the full schedule, ticket details, parking, and all other things you might need to know before attending, can be found at the festival's website. If you are attending the festival, say hi if you happen to see me walking the grounds. I'd love to say hi as well. My photos from the festival will go live as soon as possible once things have been edited, transmitted, and sorted out. I am definitely looking forward to sharing them all with you!